COLUMBIA — Defensive end Kony Ealy relayed an interesting factoid Saturday; apparently, he and former Missouri teammate Sheldon Richardson are related.
By TEREZ A. PAYLOR
The Kansas City Star
“A cousin in our family is blood related to both of us,” Ealy said.
Ealy said he and Richardson found out shortly before Richardson, a first-round pick in April’s NFL Draft, left for the pros.
“I told him and he was like ‘No way,’ Ealy said. “Then we kind of put two and two together and we were like ‘Damn!’”
But when asked (jokingly) if he got a portion of Richardson’s signing bonus, Ealy – who has hopes of playing in the NFL one day – turned serious.
“No, I’m not like that at all,” Ealy said. “Sheldon, he got a lot of attention drawn his way with a lot of different people coming his way, so like I said, I’d never ask anybody (for) that. I want to get my own.”
Other news and notes from Saturday
• Missouri practiced in shoulder pads Saturday at Memorial Stadium, and coach Gary Pinkel was pleased with the appropriate level of physicality his team displayed.
“It was good, a little bit more physical,” Pinkel said. “I thought we practiced smart, very few guys went down. We’re trying to make a huge emphasis on staying on our feet.”
Pinkel has made a big deal about cutting back the physicality of camp, something he decided to do after the Tigers suffered through an injury-plagued 2012 season.
“There’s no magic out there,” Pinkel said. “There’s going to be injuries, we understand that. We’re just trying to do the right things to stay healthy. But you still have to be ready to play. Hopefully we’ll get the pads on and get going here.”
• When Pinkel was asked why his players seemed to have a pep in their step on Saturday, he pointed toward the downright breezy weather – overcast and cool – as the reason.
“This weather here, are you kidding me? This is like heaven,” Pinkel said. “It’s so unusual. It’s unreal. A couple years ago we did the same running we did out here and it was 107 heat index. You’re telling me there wasn’t a difference? So that’s why they’ve got pep in their step. It’s so cool out here.”
• Freshman defensive tackle Nate Crawford was wearing a red non-contact jersey with a strained back, and was apparently none too pleased about it.
“He’s one of those guys that when (trainer) Rex (Sharp) brought the injury report to me last night after a team meeting and said that he’s going to be in red and miss (practice), he said ‘Now coach, Nate’s not going to be real happy about this,’” Pinkel said. “There’s a lot of young players that, (when they) get a day off, kind of say – and there’s nothing wrong with it, just kind of immature – ‘a day off, that’s pretty good.’
“But we went through stretch today, and he’s at the back of the line in red and I thought he was going to start crying. He wanted to get out and play, he wanted to get out and play. So you love that. Ziggy Hood was like that. That tells you a lot about him.”
• Pinkel also heaped praise on the current crop of freshmen, despite the fact two of the highest-rated players in the class – running back Chase Abbington and junior college safety Duron Singleton – failed to make it into school this fall.
“We’re really, really pleased with the freshman class, overall,” Pinkel said. “We like getting them in here and seeing them. We always believe in our evaluation system, and I’m really, really, really pleased with this class and the athletes we have.”
• Pinkel said he texted former star Jeremy Maclin the moment he heard Maclin had suffered a season-ending ACL injury during camp with the Philadelphia Eagles last weekend.
“I texted him right away, the minute I heard it,” Pinkel said. “He’s such a great kid. You talk about leading by example...he has camps for kids, he comes back to Mizzou and talks to our players all the time.
"I just told him you’re going to overcome this, you’re a great athlete. In his head, he’s so determined and mature. He’ll overcome it, he will.”
• Pinkel was asked about senior Brayden Burnett’s surprisingly expansive beard, and he couldn’t help but take a playful swipe.
“Brayden looks like he’s 80 years old with that beard,” Pinkel said.
In addition to Crawford, freshman defensive tackle A.J. Logan (knee) and freshman offensive tackle Harnett Gill (foot) were wearing red non-contact jerseys.
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